St. John’s Nurses set Dec. 14 Strike Date
Registered nurses at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo yesterday threatened to strike on Dec. 14 if hospital administrators do not agree to "union-proposed" salary and staffing increases, the Ventura County Star reports. Representatives of the Service Employees International Union said the strike will coincide with walkouts at five other facilities owned by Catholic Healthcare West, St. John's parent company (Koehler, Ventura County Star, 11/29). SEIU is seeking better pay for nurses, who contend that they are paid $3-$5 less per hour than nurses at other county hospitals. Nurses also maintain that the "pay gap" has created a nursing shortage that requires them to work with "too many patients and work too many overtime hours," which compromises patient safety (California Healthline, 11/14). The union has asked for a "25%-across-the-board" pay increase for nurses. With "formal notice" of the strike to be given to hospital administrators today, 14 days before the planned strike, nurses said they were giving the hospitals "enough time for the possible transfer of patients to other hospitals" (Ventura County Star, 11/29). St. John's COO Charles Padilla declined to give details of a possible contingency plan but did say it would involve "bringing in other nurses." Noting that nurses had rejected a $1.2 million pay increase, Padilla said, "We would like to see the union put a wage proposal on the table that is reasonable and prudent" (Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 11/29).
In other contract news, nurses at Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch on Monday "overwhelmingly" approved a new contract that provides a 16.5% salary increase over the next three years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The contract, which takes effect today, will include "retroactive pay increase" from Oct. 1 and nurses who have worked at the hospital for eight years or more will receive an additional 2% raise in the contract's third year. The hospital has also agreed to limit mandatory overtime for nurses unless there is a public emergency or "unforseen" patient crisis (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.